Streamlining travel plans

Cindy Conger

Cindy Conger, chief financial officer and head of the Finance Section, wrote this week’s column.

In our ongoing effort to improve service, the Business Services and Finance Sections will soon be introducing a new way to pay for your travel expenses.

Come April 1, Fermilab employees will have the opportunity to use a Travel Card to pay for travel expenses. Each employee who travels on official lab business will be eligible to receive a Travel Card, pending approval. Employees can use the card to book hotels and rental cars and to pay for conference registration fees and other travel-related expenses. The cards also include an ATM withdrawal feature, eliminating the need to request a travel advance. While the card cannot be used for personal expenses, you will be able to use it for meals and incidentals reimbursed through the per diem allowance.

One feature that is sure to be popular is that, as a card holder, you will have an Avis Wizard number linked to your card, allowing you to bypass the Avis counter when renting a car. You will save time by proceeding directly to your rental car, without having to stand in line.

After you return from your business trip, you will turn in all receipts with your voucher as you do now. Once the voucher is reviewed, approved and processed, accounting personnel will send you a reimbursement check as usual. You’ll use that check to pay U.S. Bank, the provider of this VISA card program. The card does not incur interest, but you will need to send in your payment on time to avoid late fees. There is a longer grace period on the card to accommodate delays in processing reimbursements.

Instant advances, speedier car rental and maintaining the available credit line on your personal card are some of the benefits of the Travel Card program. More information will be provided as the roll out date nears.